Verizon Changes TOS: Reserves The Right To Terminate Your DSL And Offer You FiOS

Reader William forwards us an email he got from Verizon. He’s concerned that they’re going to try to force FiOS on him.

Dear Valued Verizon Online Customer,

This email is to let you know that we have revised the Verizon Internet Access Service Terms of Service (“TOS”). Please visit http://www.verizon.net/updates or look under the Announcements section of Verizon Central to review the revised TOS, as well as the announcement summarizing the primary changes. These changes will be effective as of the date set forth on the announcement. We encourage you to review these changes as they affect your rights and obligations under our TOS…

Sincerely,

Verizon Online

Effective November 20, 2007

As set forth in Paragraph 6 of the Terms of Service, your continued use of the Service after the effective date of these changes will constitute your agreement to the changes.

8.4 Conversion from DSL Service to Verizon Fios Internet Service. At such time as Verizon is able to provision the Service utilizing fiber optic technologies, we may in our discretion terminate your DSL Service and no longer make DSL service available to your location. In cases of such termination, we will offer to you Verizon Fios Internet Service and we will disclose to you applicable rates and additional terms, if any, and such rates and terms may differ from the DSL Services provided under this Agreement.

Perhaps William should write his own email. “William reserves the right to be paid $10 every month by Verizon. Not sending a freeze dried penguin via DHL before next Tuesday constitutes your agreement to the changes.”

Better keep a fire extinguisher handy, William.

(Photo:wsh1266)

Comments

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  1. parad0x360 says:

    Fios isnt much more expensive then DSL and they would probably offer it for the same price if they are cutting DSL out. The reason they are doing this is so they can have just one datacenter which would save them tons of money.

    I would be happy if they did this to me as it would mean i can get Fios…of course I see where you are coming from and yes it does suck but again if they dont increase the rate you can only win here.

    The TOS says they CAN increase but it doesnt say they will.

  2. burgundyyears says:

    I wish Verizon could come and force FiOS where I live. Instead, I’m stuck with AT&T’s completely half-baked U-Verse service.

    P.S. What’s the big deal about the terms change? Basically, they reserve the right to terminate the DSL service and offer you a (superior) alternative.

  3. darkened says:

    I was fios badly… just don’t burn my house down it’s solid cedar ><

  4. full.tang.halo says:

    if by big deal you mean terminate a cheaper service and offer a more expensive alternative without you having any recourse, then no big deal at all…..

  5. Leohat says:

    Isn’t Version ripping out the exsisting copper when they install FIOS? So they are forcing a vendor lock-in.

    They’re gonna cut off your DSL and rip out your copper lines so you can’t go back or to a competitor. Cute.

  6. tsdguy says:

    @Leohat: Bingo! You hit the nail on the head. Once you purchase FIOS, you agree to allow Verizon to rip out your copper and you MUST use phone over FIOS. If you move, the purchasers MUST re-sign with Verizon because they WILL NOT restore copper to the location.

    So, when Verizon decides to jack up your rates, you have no recourse. Your state regulators have no authority over FIOS (since it’s not a utility) and you can’t change phone carriers (since Verizon won’t reinstall the copper). I guess you could go with IP over cable broadband but that’s less reliable than FIOS.

    Forget about all the advice to keep 1 hard line in case of power failure – no power, no FIOS. Even if you use a UPS, this only helps your house. For a wide area failure, the power to your area routers will fail also.

  7. Riddar says:

    I’m not sure where the ripping out rumor came from, they never did that to me at all. If worried, just ask the technician when he arrives to be sure, but I really don’t think that’s the policy.

  8. ThomFabian says:

    I can really only see the issue here if you have a contract with them that has an ETF on your end. If not then all this clause is doing is saying that some day there service might go away, and when it does they will be offering a different service. They can’t force the alternative service on you, but they can stop providing DSL.

  9. liquisoft says:

    I like the suggestion you guys made. I think I’ll begin writing my own notices like that and sending them to companies.

  10. UESC says:

    and here I was looking forward to getting FIOS, I guess i should just wait for Verizon to “remove” my DSL…

  11. Electroqueen says:

    Hey! For some people they are content with their $15 a month plan. Isn’t the typical Fios plan about $50?! Cheapskates ain’t gonna make that jump.

  12. VicMatson says:

    Ridder,

    They were, but they stopped because of all the competitors complaints. It made the news in the Baltimore/DC area!

  13. yagisencho says:

    I’ve actually been keen to make the switch, but the website kept stating that it wasn’t available yet. So I was quite surprised when Verizon sent a 3rd party salesman out to our neighborhood last week. At least in this area (Seattle), they were offering two options (Mbps down/up):

    15/2 – 49.99 per month
    5/2 – 39.99 per month

    I’m paying 19.99 per month now for 768/128Kbps, so I see either option as a considerable value. If I were content with my dog-slow DSL, then I might be upset that I’m being asked to pay double. But I’m more than willing to pay double for 6x the download and 16x the upload speed.

    Curious thing though is…I don’t think they actually have fiber running to our homes yet. We live on a private lane, and they’d need to cut and dig under our lane in order to lay the cable. Maybe…someday?

  14. Myron says:

    I don’t see where Verizon is in the wrong. They could stop offering a service in the future. Is that such an evil thing?

  15. yagisencho says:

    Oops, meant to mention this – the sales guy claimed that Verizon was phasing out POTS in this area, by the end of 2008. So my land line would be converted at the same time. Apparently, there will be no immediate fee adjustments for voice – just data.

  16. MickeyMoo says:

    If they do in fact “rip out” the copper – I’m curious as to how this scenario would play out in a rental situation as the tenant generally would be considered not to have the authority to enter into a binding agreement which involves a 3rd party (the home/apartment/condo owner) If anyone has any input I would be most grateful.

  17. Ripping out the copper (and thus locking one in) is evil. And, without the copper, you’d be SOL in a blackout. Sure, your cell phone might still work, but once the battery dies…well, no communication.

    I’m staying far away from Verizon.

  18. Bobg says:

    I RECEIVED THE SAME EMAIL. I PRINTED OUT THE TOS SO THAT I COULD GO THROUGH IT AND HIGH-LIGHT ANYTHING THAT I FELT WASN’T UP TO SNUFF. VERIZON ONLY LISTS TWO MINOR CHANGES AND THE PART ABOUT SWITCHING YOU TO FIOS ISN’T ONE OF THEM.

  19. m0unds says:

    If FiOS were even remotely reliable, then it might be acceptable. If for some distorted reason I found myself subscribing to Verizon DSL and saw that, I’d cancel and get service through another provider. Bandwidth isn’t everything.

  20. moeman1024 says:

    I have a question about all of this removal of copper. I thought the government paid for the installation of the copper network throughout the country. The phone companies are supposed to upkeep this network as their part of the payment. If this is true removal of the copper line means the taxpayer/government should get money for the removal/destruction of this network.

    Is this supposition correct?

  21. krunk4ever says:

    I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. It’s the same thing as moving away from analog over-the-air TV to digital over-the-air TV and switching from analog cell phones to digital cellphones and so on.

    Sometimes it’s in the best interest to just push upgrades to customers, so that progress in technology can move forward.

    If Verizon one day decided they won’t support DSL in a particular area anymore and if you want broadband from Verizon, you have to get FIOS, I honestly see no problem with that. It’s not like they’re forcing you to use FIOS. They’re just dropping a technology they no longer want to support.

  22. MrEvil says:

    @yagisencho: I’d give up my first born for those kinds of speeds at that price. I pay $50/mo for 7M/512k cable. The download isn’t bad, but that 512k upload is totally inadequate when I have friends over to play games online. That 512k won’t handle more than 2 computers playing online at once.

  23. goller321 says:

    +For everyone expounding on how Verizon is doing nothing wrong, read ALL the posts. Verizon has been known – and no it isn’t just a rumor, to pull out the copper wires once FIOS is in. If that is the case, then the consumer is locked into another monopoly situation. The big phone/telecom companies have been slowly crawling their way back to a monopolistic state ever since Ma Bell was broken up. This is just one more step.

  24. @burgundyyears: I’m stuck between a Rock and a Hard Place. That is, Comcast and Dial-up. My solution, leech the neighbors wireless through a PC running as a dedicated bridge connected to my router whose local IP is DMZ’d at the neighbors router. Result: Full internet access. Slightly slower than if I had my own line, but no complaints. I’ll keep Comcast on that 10-foot-pole.

  25. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    Force it on Chicago, Verizon. We won’t complain!

  26. swalve says:

    @krunk4ever: Exactly. DSL is utter crap, a stopgap technology. Verizon is upgrading their service offerings, why should they support an older technology?

  27. StevieD says:

    My Dad is cheap. He was the last idiot on a “party-line” with his BabyBell. The BabyBell finally paid him off and converted him to a private line. Having multiple technologies is costly to the vendor. The BabyBell paid off my Dad. Of course that is back in the day before TOS’s that cover every burp and fart.

  28. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow, I’m sorta floored that people don’t see that removing a $14 option then forcibly replacing it with one that’s 4-5x more expensive isn’t evil incarnate.

    Granted, some people want more bandwidth and a higher cost, but this isn’t what Verizon is doing. They’re taking people with modest needs then forcing them into a much higher tier, if they need it or not.

    To those saying, “Verizon would NEVER do that,” adding simple, “at no extra charge” to the end of the notification would have shown otherwise.

    And, as many have noted, potentially removing the copper wires, assuring lock-in.

    Intensely anti-consumer.

  29. roothorick says:

    The only problem I see here is the lock-in. In the case of a large-scale blackout, POTS systems will fail within a few hours just as FiOS will. The POTS system is powered by the standard-fare mains grid just like everything else. No power, no nothing. And no, cellphones aren’t an option either — what do you think the towers run on, magic? In the case of a big power outage like that, it’s best to plan on having NO communication whatsoever, because if it’s a big enough failure, you WON’T have any form of communication unless you plunk down several thousand on a satellite phone with built-in battery.

  30. world-inferno says:

    I use to be a “sales and service” rep at Verizon in New England.

    Since day one, the only thing anyone talked about was line loss. People switching from land lines to cell phones was a big reason factor, but the main cause was the cable companies bundling phone service with their TV and superior internet service. Plus cable didn’t have the same FCC mandated customer service responce time requirements nor were they required to provide Lifeline service to low income residents. So aside from their bundling advantage they also had lower cost.

    Verizon tried to counter by bundling wirless w/POTS which was a nightmare since Verizon Wireless is 50% Vodafone and completely incompatible billing-wise.

    Next Verizon tried partnering with DirecTV creating a poor man’s Triple Play. Expensive phone + $10 in FCC surcharges + slow ass DSL + directv (hope you don’t have trees or rain or snow). Cable still kicked their ass.

    The only option was to abandon the copper FCC nightmare (and trying to sell it to pseudo phone companies like Fairpoint for example) and play the same game that the cable companies are but with fiber.

    And yes, for the record once you switch to fiber you can’t go back to copper. And neither can future homeowners / tennents… unless the future owner of those copper lines wants to reinstall the drop (and they won’t since they are a BS company created by VZ to absorb the copper problem).

    So in the end, it sucks Verizon is pushing people happy with 768K onto fiber, but what else were they going to do? Try and compete with cable using the broken Triple Play while dealing with the antiquated FCC regulations, Lifeline funding and slowski DSL handicaps?

    Yeah VZ is evil and I hate them that’s why I quit, but what the hell else were they to do? Just get slaughtered by cable?

    Speed throughout the rest of the civilized world destroys the US. VZ while appearing to be bullying the fiber I think it’s for the greater good no matter how you look at it.

  31. roothorick says:

    Actually, I just thought of a cheaper alternative to the satellite phone. Get two-way satellite internet (it MUST be two-way — one-way systems rely on the POTS for upstream traffic), get a VoIP service, and connect the VoIP phone to your satellite modem. Buy a UPS, and keep it near the modem and phone, powered off. When the outage hits, plug the modem and the phone into it, but leave the UPS off. When emergency strikes, turn on the UPS, wait 3-5 minutes for it to link to a satellite, and bam! you have a completely self-sustained communication line to the outside world, that is, as long as the UPS’ batteries hold out. (So take good care of that UPS, your life may depend on it someday.)

    This could fail in the event that your satellite network falls apart, but what’s the chances of that happening during a large-scale long-term blackout in your area? The blackout by itself is a long shot.

  32. tapehands says:

    AGGGGH. It’s already been said in the comments before me, but it needs to be stressed.

    Verizon, by switching you to FiOS, has to disconnect the phone line from the street to your house – meaning no more POTS. If you want someone other than Verizon as a phone provider (that runs over the POTS), you’re screwed. For examples of this, I cite this google search – [www.google.com]

    What’s to keep Verizon from eliminating their basic calling plans? Or making their middle-of-the-road priced Internet access the lowest option available? Granted, nothing this drastic would happen, as there are alternatives (the cable company, other phone companies that won’t disconnect your copper, etc etc…) – but I can easily see the prices of the low-end services sneaking higher, especially without regulation.

    The other issue is POTS is pretty bulletproof. It generally takes a lot to make regular phone service go out. FiOS goes out if the power goes out (assuming the receiver in your home isn’t on a UPS). Just making that a point, as some people are incredibly anal about having phone service that works under almost any condition – usually for home security systems or for those health monitoring systems.

    Now that my Chicken Little’ing is over – bring on the FiOS! Competition is going to be awesome for all the services being offered – more channels, higher speeds, and cheaper calling are all things I’ll be glad to see.

  33. STrRedWolf says:

    Whoa whoa whoa! First of all, I’m on FiOS. We switched from Comcast and crap-ass Millenium Digital cable. We researched the whole mess and agreed that going 100% fiber was ok since we were getting a much clearer phone line to boot (it’s over a dedicated channel on the fiber line, not VoIP).

    We also have cell phones, and a UPS on the Optical Network Terminal, so we’ll be covered for more than 8 hours. If a power outage is longer than that, and we can’t dial out through two Verizon (CDMA) cell phones and an AT&T (GSM) phone, then the whole area’s surely screwed up!

    Our copper POTS line is still here, just capped — but we couldn’t fax through it anyway, and needed 56K tech to reach 28.8K. Nope, we’ll go for the 8 hour buffer and more capabilities over the very old copper line anyday.

  34. Canadian Impostor says:

    @roothorick: Satellite internet has a lovely 1-2 second lag. Good luck using VOIP on that.

  35. drac77 says:

    I live in Northern VA and had the exact same happen to me. I don’t know where some commenters are getting their info but I never had to have my regular phone line replaced and I am going on two years of FIOS. They simply sent a rep to my house and informed me that the 14.95 DSL I was using was being replaced by FIOS and that for the remaining of that original contract I would have FIOS for that same price and then my second year would move up to 28.99/month. Now in November that has expired and will be charged 34.99/month. Not once have they told me that I will be forced to give up my regular land line, but they are persistently pushing the TV/Phone/Internet over FIOS for 99/month package, but I have to have my NFL Sunday ticket so no go on that. My point is you DO NOT have to give up your land line unless you want to have the bundle package which is a great savings.

  36. dmartinez says:

    I have to agree with Verizon on this one. If you do not force people to upgrade with the times you get allot of issues. No where did Verizon every say they will offer you DSL for the rest of your life. If they are moving to a better service (FIOS) they need to cut costs in other areas such as their old copper phone lines and DSL which runs on those copper phone lines.

    People have a habbit of not moving forward unless you force them to.

  37. Major-General says:

    @parad0x360: And of course they get to cut the copper lines so they don’t have to offer access to other line carriers has nothing to do with it.

    @Riddar: Funny, every other story on The Consumerist has mentioned the cutting of the copper.

    The problem I have with this is that I’m happy with my 768/128 DSL. It meets my needs perfectly well. I don’t want to be forced into something more expensive just because it will no longer inconvenience the phone company.

  38. world-inferno says:

    @ DRAC77

    POTS goes over copper. your copper drop line from the street was replaced with a fiber optic one. your telephone service was ported from POTS to fiber. nobody is saying you have to “give up” your landline, we are saying you are switching your phone service from POTS/copper/analog to FiOS/fiber/digital.

    still phone service, still a landline. you are just getting it differently and that’s what people are commenting on. unless you have home security or medical equipment running over the line, they are indistinguishable and that’s what you are responding to.

  39. Brad2723 says:

    Don’t companies still have the right to discontinue services and stop selling certain products if they wish? Now, if you’re on a contract, they have to honor the terms of the contract at a specific minimum level of service for the original agreed upon price. As much as I despise Verizon, I have to say I don’t see anything wrong with what they are doing.

  40. FLConsumer says:

    @Riddar: Ripping out the copper isn’t a rumour — they’ve done it in Tampa. Seen a few installs where that has been done.

    @MickeyMoo: It appears Verizon’s legal department has also taken notice of this. I’ve yet to see Verizon install FIOS in any apartment or condo communities in Tampa.

    @STrRedWolf: It’s still VoIP regardless of what you want to call it. It also still runs into all of the same problems as VoIP can encounter. The only difference is that you’re getting all of it from companies which have “Verizon” in their name. Don’t let Verizon fool you into thinking it’s just one large company — it’s not. Anyone who has had to deal with Verizon on an issue which involves getting 2 or more Verizon companies together to solve the problem can attest to this. Having to call India (Verizon Online) to call Verizon DSL (NJ) to get ahold of a line tech in Tampa (Verizon Local / ex-GTE) is an exercise in futility and frustration. This same screwy setup exists with Verizon’s FIOS product as well.

    8 hrs on an ONT? bull. Maybe when they’re freshly shipped from the factory, but not in reality. I’ve played around with them and never got more than 4-6 hrs, and it only for its voice service. This also totally neglects that FIOS requires mini-COs to be placed around the neighborhoods which rely upon the power grid. The actual technical name for them escapes me, but these boxes must be up & running for your phone service to work. From the 2004 & 2005 hurricane season — they don’t work for very long without utility power. Only a couple of hours at best. Most cell towers also failed quickly, hence the need for good ‘ol POTS. Unlikely scenario where you live, you say? There’s the 2003 Northeast blackout just to show that power outages can happen anywhere.

    @world-inferno: It’s not still a landline apparently because my insurance company REQUIRES POTS service and even PAYS FOR IT for my alarm system. They also spec’d out the alarm system and supervised its installation. There has to be a reason my insurance company is willing to pay for a barebones POTS line and isn’t willing to use my carrier-grade VoIP + fiber connections here.

  41. world-inferno says:

    @FLConsumer: yeah, that was the exception i was referencing– “unless you have home security or medical equipment running over the line…”

    that’s the two ways to get Verizon to let you keep copper and fiber… so if any of you are hellbent (or in your case your insurance company ;-P) on keeping the copper, that’s the golden line to utter while talking to a CSSR.